Nick Kyrgios is well-known for creating shock headlines in the world of tennis, but his last-minute withdrawal of the inaugural United Cup, seemed to surprise even his teammates.
The United Cup is a new event, taking place over three Australian cities, Brisbane, Perth and Sydney.
The tournament, which runs from Dec. 29- to Jan. 8, features 18 countries split into six groups of three, with teams playing two men’s and two women’s singles matches and a mixed doubles match.
Kyrgios was set to lead the Australian men’s team in the joint ATP and WTA event, but just minutes before the team press-conference, news spread of his withdrawal.
Co-captain Sam Stosur was left to try and inform the waiting media of the news but admitted it had come as a recent surprise to her too.
“We literally just found out 10 minutes ago. Obviously, it’s news to all of us and we just move forward now,” Stosur said.
When asked if Kyrgios would still be able to play the Australian Open, Stosur replied, “I’m not going to speak for Nick’s summer, we’ve got to leave that for him.
“He was here. We literally just found out 10 minutes ago, so it’s obviously news to all of us.
“But we just move forward now. We’re all happy to be here and keen to get out there.”
Kyrgios had his most successful season last year, winning the Australian Open doubles competition and reaching his first singles Grand Slam final at Wimbledon.
The world number 22 is thought to be suffering from an ankle injury and is hoping to be recovered in time for the Australian Open.
Alex de Minaur, who will now move into the number one men’s position for Team Australia, was asked his thoughts on Kyrgios withdrawal but said he’d prefer to focus on the event instead.
“I think it would be great if we just talk about this great team,” he said. “We are all here, we are all happy to be here, we are about to play an exciting new event, something new for all of us - the United Cup.”
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